BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A former Boston firefighter has reached a $3.2 million settlement with the city after being sexually harassed while on the job by a male colleague.
The former firefighter, Nathalie Fontanez, went public in 2018 with complaints of unfair treatment in the firehouse after working there for around seven years; saying it was a work environment where women are discriminated against and, in at least one case, harassed and sexually assaulted.
The male colleague was convicted of criminal charges at the beginning of last year, and Fontanez’s agreement was finalized last month.
One of Fontanez’s attorneys, Gloria Allred, joined her on a Zoom press conference Tuesday to discuss the facts which led to the multi-million dollar settlement.
Fontanez is a single mother who was the only woman working in in her firehouse in Jamaica Plain. Of the approximately 1,500 firefighters in the department, there are only 17 women on the job.
She had reported the harassment and misconduct to the City of Boston and Boston Fire Department multiple times, but she said she never saw any redeemable actions put in place.
Rather than seeing positive change following her reports, Fontanez saw a new level of mistreatment— this time prohibiting her from securing a promotion she was qualified for and seeing her team had turned on her.
She said she was “often treated like a second-class citizen.”
As a Latin-American woman, she said she was stereotyped to perform kitchen duties and other tasks by her coworkers that were not in her job title.
“I’m breaking my silence, because I believe that women firefighters deserve equal treatment in the Boston Fire Department,” she said.
Written by Edyn Jensen